CLEVELAND, OH-The intensity and confidence behind that expletive word. Armando Bacot is not letting last year repeat itself.
After No. 22 North Carolina defeated Kentucky at the CBS Sports Classic, 75-63, Bacot spoke with the press about the team's high energy win.
"We made bad shots and have yet to put together a good to halves of basketball; We went down early. They figured they would punk us but this is; wet last year; We are not going for any of that shit. We not. Excuse my language, but we not."
Bacot's freshman year may not have resulted in esteemed accolades, but it could've possibly awakened the dominant center fans saw glimpses of throughout the season.
With COVID-19 forcing teammates and coaches to practice social distancing, the Heels have had ample time to reflect and detail their past season faults to prevent repeat failures. Bacot averaged 9.6 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 45.9% from the floor. His biggest game came against Oregon, where he shot 78% and was 9-10 from the field resulting in 23 points.
This season, the Virginia native is holding nothing back; Finally playing at 100%, this isn't the same Bacot from the previous season. So far, Bacot has been a consistent veteran presence for Coach Williams and UNC, averaging 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. This year, Bacot's most significant game comes at home against North Carolina Central University, recording his second double-double of the season, 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Against Kentucky, Bacot led UNC with 14 points. It was the second game in a row Bacot led the Tar Heels in scoring. With the help of freshman Kerwin Walton, the duo combined for 21 second-half points; Kentucky scored 25 points total in the second half. Alone, Walton boasted the Heels with an 8-0 run; One point shy of the Heels longest streak.
Senior Andrew Platek is holding North Carolina to the expectations that come with the jersey. The excuses are slim for Platek, and he isn't holding back when discussing this team's possibilities. He knows they are endless, but it's going to take more than what they're displaying.
"I still think we can play faster, better, score more points, and make more shots. I don't think we're anywhere close to how good we can be, so we still have a lot to work on."
North Carolina is seemingly finding their footing seven games in play and ahead of tackling the ACC starting Tuesday. Honestly, UNC has the makings of everything perfect for a dominant team. Granted, a young backcourt will take time to deliver high quality and dominating wins. Still, the subtle mistakes can be refined and erased with dedication, senior leadership, which they aren't lacking, and quality coaching. Coupled with a solid bench, how could UNC lose?
Tuesday, North Carolina will face NC State at 9 pm on the ACC Network.